Jerry

Back before Jerry Seinfeld was “Seinfeld” my sister and I totally dug his comedy. Having seen him do stand up on your various late night talk shows, we had become big fans. Our quest was to see him live, and living right outside New York City made it a tad bit easier. Or so you’d think.

This was the days way before the internet and online ticket ordering. Sis had heard Jerry was performing at a joint called “Mr. Chuckles” or “Mr. Giggles” somewhere out on Long Island or past Westchester somewhere in the middle of NY state. I can’t remember which, I just know it was a haul to get there. She had called and reserved us seats for his show and we made the almost 2 hour drive to see him live.

When we reached the broken down excuse for a comedy club and she showed the ticket guy the confirmation number, he told us to get lost. There were no tickets held under her name and we needed to step aside. I argued with him for a good 10 minutes, trying my hardest to hold up the line just to piss him off. I knew there was no way we were getting in, so I may as well make his night as miserable as he was making mine.

We went to a bar and drowned our sorrows instead.

A few months later, we got tickets to a show that Jerry was performing at “Bananas,” a comedy club they had inside the Holiday Inn in Fort Lee, NJ. This was great because it was the town right next to ours…no long drive this time! The night of the show I dolled myself up and was looking mighty fine. You know how there are some nights it just all comes together…hair, clothes, make up? This was one of those nights for me!

The “comedy club” was nothing but one of their ballrooms with a stage up front. We sat at long tables that ran perpendicular to the stage. I noticed that when Jerry came in, he simply entered from the hallway door – no backstage passageway – no security of any kind. That’s when I had the idea.

The show was great – he did all his routines that are now considered “classic”…Halloween, the missing sock from the dryer. What can I say…we laughed our asses off. My sister and her friends were such huge fans I had decided to try and get his autograph, which was my aforementioned idea.

While he was taking his bows and thanking the crowd I sneaked out into the hallway and waited. Sure enough, 30 seconds later he came sauntering out of the main doors and was walking down the hall in front of me. I called out to him and he turned around.

This is where it gets surreal upon thinking back on it. I mean, he was famous then, but not that famous. I think his infamous TV show was scheduled to come out a year or so later. Therefore he was still approachable. But when I think of how famous he is now, the fact that I was approaching him is mind blowing for me.

He stopped and I caught up to him and began to chat while we walked. “The show was great,” ” you’re so funny,” “we’re big fans,” blah blah blah. Suddenly we enter a room…his dressing room! He says, “come on in.” I have not stopped talking, yet he doesn’t seem annoyed by me in the least. I tell him the story of how we tried to see him at Mr. Giggles (or Mr. Chuckles – I can’t recall) and how we were refused entry and were treated rudely. His response (which must be read in true Seinfeld voice) was, “Well, I’ll never play there again!”

I told him how my sister and her friend were such big fans, and could I get an autograph. While he was signing the back of one of the club’s fliers, I had another idea. Should I ask him out on a date?

Ok, while you are guffawing & sniggering, let me explain something. Aside from appearing on the Tonight Show, he was really just your typical local stand up comic. He wasn’t a Hollywood dude – he was a funny guy from Long Island. Plus, he seemed very natural and engaging. To just say to him “hey, here’s my number. If you’re ever interested in hanging out, give me a call” seemed like a natural move.

But, as fate would have it, and is so typical for Tracy, the moment was lost. For at that point the crowd was clamoring for his autograph/meet & greet and the once chance I might have had to ask out the man who would one day be insanely successful and rich slipped away. In the snap of a finger our intimate little tête à tête inside his dressing room was over, and I was just one of the crowd again.

I waved to him as we were leaving, and he gave me a head nod and a smile. It was really cool at the time, but is now a “smack yourself in the forehead for being such a chicken shit” moment in my life. I should have grown a pair and handed him my number when I had the chance.

On the one hand I think “yeah, like he would’ve ever called me.” But you never know – I may have had a way better story to tell if I had done it.

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